The Photographer Who Traveled With Ultrarich Women

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Mara Lane at the Sands Hotel, Las Vegas, 1954.Photo: ©Slim Aarons/Getty Images

Once while sailing on a yacht with Katharine Hepburn, the late photographer Slim Aarons spotted a man in the water gasping for air, as if he were about to drown. When they brought him aboard, the man surprised them — he whipped out his own camera and began snapping photos of Hepburn. She threatened to smash it over his head. The paparazzi stunt was the perfect opposite to Aarons — he was never an outsider among Hollywood starlets and socialites, but a close, trusted friend. He photographed women like Diana Vreeland, Audrey Hepburn, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Marilyn Monroe.

Aarons captured high-society women and their lavish lifestyles throughout his career, traveling to places like Las Vegas, Bermuda, and Acapulco, where they’d lounge poolside at resorts. He went to their extravagant Palm Beach homes, Spanish villas, and photographed one woman in a Czechoslovakian castle.

The book Slim Aarons: Women, out this month from Abrams and written by Laura Hawk (who worked with the photographer for nearly a decade), features 200 color and black-and-white photographs by Aarons, some of which are published for the very first time. Click ahead to see Inge Morath, Anne Bindon, and Lady Daphne Cameron, among others.